Sports + Fans + Selfie Culture = Business Strategy

Adriene Hill Jul 24, 2015
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Sports + Fans + Selfie Culture = Business Strategy

Adriene Hill Jul 24, 2015
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When the LA Galaxy’s newest star, former Liverpool player Steven Gerrard, scored his first goal for the team, the crowd exploded.

And up near the roof of the stadium, cameras were clicking away.

They were focused not on the goal or on Gerrard, but on the ecstatic, high-fiving, scarf-waving fans. Some 20,000 of them were having their picture taken in just seconds.

“We capture the moment, so you don’t have to, so that you can enjoy the experience without being on your phone and trying to take a picture of yourself,” says Mike Peterson, an intern at Fanpics, a San Diego tech startup that partners with sports teams to take photos of celebrating fans. Tonight, Mike’s job is to trigger the cameras at the big-deal moments.

Reporter Adriene Hill (center, in the black and white dress) demonstrates how Fanpics sometimes works— and sometimes doesn’t.

Fanpics is a free app. You download it, plug in your seat number and you get a set of photos on your phone of game highlights, like that Gerrard goal, and your reaction to them.

“So now when something memorable happens, we have a picture that proves we where there,” says Galaxy season ticket holder Andrew Rivera. He usually winds up with a photo or two from each game that he like enough to share on his Instagram account.

That’s free publicity for the stadium and the team, which is part of the reason the Galaxy — and next season the L.A. Clippers and L.A. Kings — will use Fanpics.

“At first, we were a little nervous about how people would react that we are taking your picture,” says Katie Pandolfo, the general manager of the StubHub Center, where the Galaxy play.

All the stadium’s entrance gates have a Fanpics disclosure. So far, she says, there haven’t been any complaints. About 15 to 25 percent of fans at games check in to the service.

“It’s important to bring new technology, show our fans that we are keeping up with all the other stadiums, and give them an experience they don’t’ have at another facility,” Pandolfo says.

Fanpics and teams get something else out of the arrangement: data.

“We’re saying, ‘Here’s this awesome content of you that’s never before existed,'” says Marco Correia, one of Fanpics co-founders. “In exchange for that, we can find out who they are, where they sit, how many times they go to the games, who they are with.”

Fanpics and stadiums are still figuring out the best way to make money off all this information, from the easy stuff, like selling prints and tchotchkes with your photo on them, to the not so obvious, Correia says. “We’ve got a mobile platform where there are a lot of fans using it, so how are we able to monetize that?”

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